Commission will get mixed board decisions

During the regular meeting of the St Augustine Planning and Zoning Board yesterday, Flagler College lost their request to proceed with an amended Planned Unit Development to develop a 20,000 square foot communications facility in Historic Preservation District 3 at Cordova and Cuna streets.

After announcing its Planned Unit Development last January, the college won City Commission approval; as well as preliminary approvals from the Historic Architectural Review Board, and the Planning and Zoning Board.

The historic neighborhood reacted negatively to the plans. Members of the neighborhood lobbied commission members and spoke at commission meetings in opposition to what they say was an incompatible architectural style and scale of construction.

In April, commissioners voted to return the plan to the Historic Architectural Review Board; where it was modified and reapproved.

But yesterday, when the plan was returned to the Planning and Zoning Board, member Jerry Dixon, an local architect, commented that the PUD, developed outside of code restrictions, was being used to “get around the intent” of the historic preservation district.

John Valdes, a contractor specializing in historic properties, also a board member, said he had not considered the safety factor for students traveling to and from the proposed 400-student complex.

After 90 minutes of hearing and debate, the Board voted 4-3; denying classrooms in HP-3.

Both the HARB approval and PZB denial are merely recommendations to the City Commission; who will have the final say in the dispute.

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